Themes in American History: Capitalism, Slavery, Democracy

Final blog post “Reflation and Relief”- Eric Rachway

 Through the excerpt of “The Great Depression and the New Deal: a very short introduction”  the hyperfocus of chapter 4 “reflation and relief” touches upon the thirty-second president Franklin D Roosevelt and his New Deal plan issued in 1933. In the text, Author Eric Rachway, an American historian, and professor at the University of California perceives this writing piece as an explicit informative response to the conjunction of the Great Depression. At the beginning of the text, Rachway introduces the abstract of the American economy during the great depression implanting Roosevelts immediate response of ‘fixing’ America’s economy stating “when Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the oath of office as president for the first time on March 4, 1933, every moving part in the machinery of the American economy had evidently broken. Banks, farms, factories, and trade had all failed.”(Rachway,1). In this sole quote, Rachway issues a foreshadow within Roosevelt’s presidency as “good president” issued the negatives when first in office. Further in the text, Rachway issues Roosevelts agenda as “grew by experiment” analyzing that Roosevelt offered a fresh new start in the aspiring American economy. Moreover, Rachway announces the drop in American unemployment stating “the American economy grew at averaged rates of around 8 to 10 percent a year. Likewise, unemployment fell dramatically from its unconscionable 1932 peak. If merely curing the immediate Depression were the only New Deal goal, its policies of relief and reflation might, pursued vigorously and consistently, have proved sufficient to the task, and their evident success had much to do with the electorate’s willingness to support Roosevelt”(Rachway,2). This particular statistic really struck out inciting the immediate response of Roosevelt’s presidency, moreover, the government statistic of the drop of unemployment is impressive [considering the knowledge of the downfall of unemployment during the era of the Great Depression]. 


In continuation in Roosevelt’s radical immediate ‘New Deal plan’, “Roosevelt began by recusing the banks”. Through the process of his ‘New Deal’, Roosevelt issued an immediate stop in banks using gold as currency, later on asking Congress to ratify his action on stopping gold transactions. This initiated an immediate shutdown, thus providing the reader immediate action President Roosevelt initiates. 


As a result, In Roosevelt’s New Deal, Many reforms would be passed in the essence of restoring America’s economy. Much of them as we know now in History known as the Trading with the enemy act, The banking act 1933, ect. Particularly what I have gained in this reading is the social engagement President Roosevelt has effortlessly shown within his first few months in his Presidency.

One thought on “Final blog post “Reflation and Relief”- Eric Rachway”

  1. I can almost hear the relief in the title of this “Final Post.” 🙂 It’s clear that you’ve read and understood Rauchway, and have a sense of FDR/the New Deal’s significance, but I wonder if you could have addressed some of the criticisms Rauchway describes as well, and perhaps tried to situate the ND in the context of a “rupture” with previous policies and attitudes about the relationship between government and the economy.

Leave a Reply